A smartwatch might not be the first thing you think of buying when you’re in lockdown, but there are a few reasons you might actually find one pretty useful when trapped indoors.
We’ve already written a guide explaining the merits of buying a fitness tracker while locked down - you can read that article here - but there are certain benefits that a proper smartwatch can bring, one that’s not just filled with exercise modes but lifestyle features too.
So that you can understand why a smartwatch might be useful for you right now, we’ve come up with six different benefits they can have on your life that exist even when you’re in lockdown.
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Survive your digital detox
When you’re trapped at home all the time it’s easy to find yourself on your phone too much - as a result some people are finding they have to do digital detoxes to stop technology overuse, which of course makes it harder to stay connected and entertained.
A smartwatch sits in that perfect middle ground, where it’s digital enough to keep you engaged with the world, with ways to see messages from your friends, the daily news and any important reminders, without having the whole web at your fingertips to distract or depress you.
Therefore you can lock your phone in a cupboard, along with all the snacks you won’t let yourself touch and the bottle of bubbly ready for lockdown's end, and live your life just using your smartwatch to get by.
Keep yourself feeling good
A smartwatch won’t just keep you connected to the world, it can also help you stay positive about it too, as some smartwatches come with self-care apps.
On top of that, some other smartwatches have stress or anxiety tracking modes and heart beat monitors, to study your mood, plus body battery energy monitors so you know how easy you should take your day, and sleep tracking so you know how well rested you are. Wear OS even reminds you to regularly wash your hands!
With all these various modes, it’s a lot easier to treat your body like a temple and stay mentally healthy - which is important when you’re trapped indoors.
There are plenty of Wear OS apps that can help you feel good, and if you want to get them on a budget, the TicWatch E2 ranks high on our list of the best cheap smartwatches available right now. It’s available at these prices in your region:
A useful fitness tool
Lockdown doesn't stop you exercising, and that's one activity you’ll probably want to make the most of. Sure, fitness trackers might be better for this, if you’re only looking for an exercise companion, but if you want a wearable that fills some of the other needs from this list too then you’ll want a smartwatch with some exercise features.
Most smartwatches have exercise-tracking modes, although this can range from just a few in-depth options like in Fitbit devices, to a plethora of more generalist modes - Wear OS devices, with access to Google Fit, have roughly 100 different activity tracking options. These range from Zumba and jogging to snowshoeing, P90X and even flossing.
As well as tracking your exercise, smartwatches can let you monitor your workout trends, analyze your performance, help you work out how best to rest, how to grow your fitness over time, and generally help you make the most of your exercise time.
As we said, Wear OS devices have plenty of fitness modes, and at the time of writing the device that tops our list of the best Wear OS smartwatches is the Fossil Sport. You can see the best prices for that exercise-themed smartwatch in your region below:
Stay connected all the time
Communication is important when you’re in lockdown, and it’s harder to talk to people when you’re not seeing them face-to-face, but that’s where digital solutions come in.
One of the core uses of smartwatches is for notifications, so any messages coming into your phone like texts, WhatsApp messages, tweets or Facebook posts will get sent to your watch. In fact, many watches even let you respond straight from your wrist, so it’s easy to get back to people immediately.
Some smartwatches even let you answer calls from the watch. This can look a bit silly when you’re talking to your watch in public - but you’re not allowed out now, so there’s no-one to judge. In addition, if you’ve got headphones connected to your watch their built-in mic can take the call instead.
As we’ve already said, some watches can have news and social media apps too, keeping you connected to the outside world super easily.
One of the best smartwatches available, with plenty of apps for communication, news and entertainment, is the Apple Watch 5. You can see the best prices for the watch in your region here:
A portable smart assistant
It’s possible that now you’re at home all the time, you’ve taken the opportunity to expand your smart home network with lights, door cams, speakers, home hubs and more. Well, some smartwatches can join that ecosystem so you can toggle functions from your wrist.
The Apple Watch devices have Siri, Wear OS smartwatches have Google Assistant, and the Fitbit Versa 2 as well as a few other smartwatches have Amazon Alexa integration, so if you’ve got a smart home set up you can easily find a smartwatch that lets you make the most of it.
After all, who doesn’t want to tell their watch to ‘play MmmBop’, ‘turn all the lights green’ or ‘phone home’ and have a separate device do that function? It’s the future.
We’ve previously linked Apple Watch and Wear OS devices, but you can find Fitbit Versa 2 prices below:
An affordable gadget
Given the economic uncertainty right now you might not want to be spending lots of money on expensive gadgets like TVs, games consoles, or even smartphones, speakers or headphones.
Thankfully, though, some of the best smartwatches are much more affordable than any of those devices. Though not as cheap as fitness trackers generally, smartwatches won’t break the bank like many other tech products.
So if you’re looking to expand your tech presence without burning your savings, by buying a budget product that will help you while in lockdown and beyond, smartwatches are where you should look.
The Fitbit Versa Lite is the perfect example of an affordable smartwatch with some useful features you’ll appreciate, as well as decent exercise functions and a long-lasting battery. These are the best prices for it right now:
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.